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Friday, January 24, 2020

Village of La Grange Board of Trustees met Nov. 11

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Jan 11, 2020


Village of La Grange Village Board met Nov. 11.

Here is the minutes provided by the Board:

1. Call to Order, Roll Call, Pledge of Allegiance

The Board of Trustees of the Village of La Grange regular meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Village President, Thomas Livingston. On roll call, as read by Village Clerk John Burns, the following were:

Present: Trustees Augustine, Gale, Holder, Kotynek, and McCarty, with President Livingston presiding.

Absent: Trustee Kuchler

Others: Village Manager Andrianna Peterson

Village Attorney Mark Burkland

Public Works Assistant Director Mike Bojovic

Community Development Director Charity Jones

Finance Director Lou Cipparrone

Police Chief Kurt Bluder

Fire Chief Terrence Vavra

President Livingston asked Village Clerk John Burns to lead the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

2. President’s Report

President Livingston thanked the American Legion for holding a Veterans Day ceremony on November 11, 2019 which recognized and honored all military veterans.

President Livingston announced that earlier this evening the Liquor Commission met to consider an application for a liquor license for a new owner of the 7-11 at 6 E. 47th Street. The Commission recommended that a license be issued. The Village Board will be asked to consider the matter at the December 9 Village Board meeting.

President Livingston announced that to promote the importance of shopping locally in La Grange this holiday season, the La Grange Business Association has announced a holiday shopper's reward promotion which will extend from November 30 through December 24, 2019. A special VIP holiday shopping preview night will take place on Thursday, November 14 from 4-8 p.m. Businesses are also preparing for the kick off of the promotion on “Small Business Saturday” scheduled for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving - November 30. More information can be found on the LGBA website.

President Livingston announced that the next meeting of the Village Board on November 25 will be a Strategic Planning Session. The Village Board meets every other year to consider strategic and big picture initiatives for the future of the Village. The meeting will be held at Amita La Grange Hospital at 6 p.m. and all are invited to attend.

President Livingston stated the Zoning Board of Appeals has opportunities for architects and resident volunteers to serve the community. Availability will be posted on the Village's website.

President Livingston expressed heartfelt sympathies to Trustee McCarty and his family on the loss of their daughter Nora McCarty.

A. Appointment - Community and Economic Development Commission

Trustee Holder made a motion to approve the appointment of Martin Dunne to the Community and Economic Development Commission, seconded by Trustee McCarty. Motion carried on a voice vote.

3. Manager’s Report

Manager Peterson announced that the Village Hall be closed will be closed on Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Regular office hours will resume on Monday, December 2 at 8:30 a.m.

4. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items


5. Consent Agenda and Vote

A. Ordinance – Creating an Additional Class A-2 Liquor License, Madison Local LLC d/b/a The Elm Restaurant

B. Resolution – Appointing Village President and Village Manager to the Position of Director and Alternate Director of the West Cook County Solid Waste Agency

C. Minutes of the Village of La Grange Board of Trustees Regular Meeting, Monday, October 28, 2019

D. Consolidated Voucher 191111

Trustee Augustine stated that in consideration of her relationship with the Village Prosecutor, she recused herself from each item on the voucher related to the Village Prosecutor.

Dan Spain, owner of The Elm Restaurant, thanked the Village Board. He stated that the opening date of the new restaurant is late December or early January. The Elm Restaurant will have the capability to host private events with amenities including three large rooms and a rooftop deck. He said that he takes the responsibility of a liquor license very seriously and is excited to join the community.

A motion was made by Trustee Holder and seconded by Trustee McCarty to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.

Approved by a roll call vote:

Ayes: Trustees Augustine, Gale, Holder, Kotynek and McCarty

Nays: None

Absent: Trustee Kuchler

6. Current Business

A. La Grange Business Association 2019 Holiday Walk - Request for Village Sponsorship and Hometown Holiday Promotion

President Livingston asked Trustee Kotynek to introduce the item. Trustee Kotynek presented a request from the La Grange Business Association seeking authorization and financial support for the 28th annual Holiday Walk to be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

As in the past, activities will start with an All-Village Sing, followed by Santa's arrival by fire truck and the traditional lighting of the "Village Tree.” Santa is again proposed to be seated in the Village Hall auditorium together with Mrs. Claus for photos. The LGBA intends to have a group of string musicians performing in the lobby of the Village Hall to entertain families as they wait to visit Santa. Also as in the past, the Holiday Walk will include a “North Pole Express” kiddie train ride, a petting zoo, pony rides, a shopper's trolley service, and ice sculptures displayed throughout the Village. Local merchants will again be welcoming shoppers into their stores with a variety of activities, specials, and treats.

In an effort to enhance the trolley ride experience and encourage visitors to explore businesses in the West End, the LGBA will be distributing special 3-D holiday glasses to riders and organizing a holiday children's activity inside the Stone Avenue Train Station.

The 2018 overall event expenses for the Holiday Walk were approximately $27,300. The LGBA anticipates similar event expenses again in 2019. To help defray marketing and operational costs of the event, the LGBA is requesting that the Village co-sponsor the annual Holiday Walk in an amount of $16,000, as is provided for in the Village's FY 2019/2020 budget.

In addition to the $16,000 sponsorship for the holiday walk, the Village plans to provide marketing support for the Hometown Holiday campaign in the amount of $9,850. This campaign is driven by aggressive marketing and publicity efforts with the assistance of Ripson Communications. The campaign runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas and promotes general holiday shopping in La Grange, as well as Small Business Saturday on November 25, the Holiday Walk on December 7, and the LGBA Shoppers Reward Program. Now in its fifth year, the Shoppers Reward Program provides a $50 LGBA gift certificate to qualified customers who spend a minimum of $300 in La Grange.

New this year, Ripson and LGBA are enhancing the Hometown Holiday campaign by adding additional attractions throughout November and December. On November 14, participating businesses will host a holiday shopping preview night for VIP customers and social media influencers. On Small Business Saturday, a flash sale promotion will be available through the La Grange IL app and an ice carving demonstration will take place near Village Hall. Throughout December, visitors can snap “Selfies with Elfies,” posing in one of several life size photo boards placed around town. Returning for its second year, students from the College of DuPage culinary school will be creating gingerbread houses for display in La Grange retailers and restaurants throughout the month.

Trustee Kotynek moved to approve the LGBA's request for Village sponsorship and Hometown Holiday promotion, seconded by Trustee Holder.

Approved by a roll call vote:

Ayes: Trustees Augustine, Gale, Holder, Kotynek and McCarty

Nays: None

Absent: Trustee Kuchler

B. Preliminary Review of the Proposed 2019 Property Tax Levy Request

President Livingston asked Trustee Augustine to introduce the item. Trustee Augustine explained that the Truth in Taxation Law requires a preliminary review of the proposed property tax levy by the corporate authorities at least 20 days prior to the adoption of the tax levy to determine if the aggregate levy is more than 5 percent greater than the preceding year's tax levy extension, exclusive of debt service. If the preliminary levy is estimated to exceed the preceding year's levy by more than 5 percent, the Village must hold a public hearing prior to the adoption of the proposed property tax levy. The proposed Truth in Taxation levy request, excluding debt service, shows a total increase of 3.27 percent over the prior year's extension. Therefore, the Village of La Grange is not required to hold a public hearing regarding the 2019 property tax levy.

The proposed Village property tax levy increase of 3.27 percent over the prior year's extension, exclusive of debt service, is also subject to the Property Tax Limitation Act (property tax caps), which limits the increase in property tax extensions, exclusive of debt service and new property growth, to five percent, or the percent of increase in the national Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. The CPI rate for the 2019 levy determined as of December 2018 was 1.9 percent. The percentage increase in the tax levy over the 1.9 percent CPI represents estimated new growth of 9.75 million EAV to include any increase in the base EAV from the Pathway Aspired Senior Living residential development project. Although we were not able to confirm the new growth figure with various Cook County departments, we do anticipate the aforementioned project may impact the 2019 tax levy as construction is underway and occupancy may occur in spring 2020. Therefore, for budgeting purposes we are estimating new growth of 9.75 million EAV which results in an increase in annual property tax revenue of approximately $50,000.

Mr. Todd Schroeder from Lauterbach & Amen, LLP, gave an overview of the Police and Fire pension levies. Considerable discussion ensued covering the following items: benefit payments, participant demographic, Tier 2 benefits, and expectations of investment returns.

President Livingston asked Director Cipparrone to provide information regarding the current Village operating reserve status and the recommended levy. Director Cipparrone stated that the Village's current operating reserve status is 61 percent. The recommended pension levy is 100 percent of the actuarial recommendation. The Police Pension Board had requested a higher levy (100.01 percent) in anticipation of the yet to be approved pension reform legislation which anticipates changes to Tier 2 benefits. The Fire Pension Board recommends 100 percent of the actuarial recommendation.

President Livingston asked Director Cipparrone about the rate of return for the pension funds over the last five years. Director Cipparrone stated that in the last 5 years it has been 6.3 percent and in the last 10 years it has been 7.8 percent so our 7 percent assumption for the rate of return is generally in the middle. Current legislation does not require the pension fund to be fully funded until 2040. The 50 year estimated market return is approximately 7 percent, based on a 60 percent equity and 40 percent fixed income investment portfolio.

President Livingston asked about the 10.7% ration of benefit payments to assets funding range which Mr. Schroeder stated could be a concern if it reaches 12.5 percent. He asked what the range is for other municipalities. Mr. Schroeder stated that there is a wide range with some municipalities at 4-5 percent and some at 20-25 percent.

Andrew James from the Police Pension Board stated that there were concerns about the 12.5 percent ratio and the 7 percent return rate. He indicated that while he recognized that the Village has many competing priorities, the additional request is based off of the budgeted amount.

President Livingston thanked Mr. James for his service. He stated that the estimate in the budget is a guide and sometimes can be lower. In those instances it would not be prudent for the Village to levy less than the 100 percent recommendation. He stated that the Village will continue to look at the return rate in the future and that it is a balance as more money allocated to pensions means less money for operations. The Village is committed to meeting its obligations.

Trustee Holder asked about the increase in the health insurance percentage as compared to the recommended tax levy. Director Cipparrone stated that we budget a 5 percent increase in health insurance each year.

President Livingston asked Director Cipparrone about MI Homes revenue projections to put the value of redevelopment of an almost 9 acre parcel into context. He noted that these types of redevelopment opportunities are not always available. Director Cipparrone stated that the revenue anticipated from the new homes are not reflected yet in the budget. We anticipate a total increase of about $75,000-$100,000 in revenues. Pathways is anticipated to provide about $50,000 in revenues. Director Cipparrone noted that one of the strategic priorities of the Village Board is keeping up with capital needs related to our aging infrastructure and that due to budget constraints, we have not had the ability to fully fund capital needs as we have in the past.

President Livingston complimented the efforts of the Police and Fire Pension Boards. He noted that the Village Board must look at the issues of revenues and expenses with a wide lens. He further noted that it is important not to consider legislation approved until it is finalized.

Trustee McCarty asked Mr. Schroeder about the legislative proposal which would combine pension funds. Mr. Schroeder responded that the idea is to pool the assets of the various pension funds together and open current investment restrictions to increase returns and allow for more flexibility.

Trustee Gale moved to approve the Resolution, estimated 2019 tax levy of $9,864,854, exclusive of debt service, which is a 3.27 percent increase from the 2018 tax levy, seconded by Trustee Gale.

Approved by a roll call vote:

Ayes: Trustees Augustine, Gale, Holder, Kotynek and McCarty

Nays: None

Absent: Trustee Kuchler

7. Public Comments Regarding Matters not on the Agenda


8. Trustee Comments

Trustee McCarty thanked the community for their support on behalf of his family.

Trustee Augustine inquired about snow plowing during the most recent snow event. Assistant Director Bojovic noted that starting at 3:00 a.m., employees were contacted to come in and begin plowing. The snowfall was early as leaves were still falling.

President Livingston thanked the Public Works Department for all of their hard work.

Trustee Augustine announced that the Community Diversity group is holding a movie night regarding racism at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Friday, November 15.

9. Closed Session


10. Adjournment

At 8:50 p.m. Trustee Holder made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Trustee McCarty. Approved by a voice vote.

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Village of La Grange Village Board